I know this looks like any other Citroen Berlingo van, a sight as familiar in France and much of Europe as any other vehicle. Berlingos, and the Peugeot Partner twin, are Stellantis’s (previously PSA) compact panel van competitor to the Ford Transit Connect, VW Caddy and Fiat Doblo (RAM Promaster City), and arguably have defined the compact European van format for the last 25 years, moving on from the rebodied estate car form typified by the Ford Escort vans.
The first Berlingo and Partner came in 1996, based on a modified Peugeot 306 estate platform but with completely different bodywork, encompassing the big square box form that the Citroen 2CV, Dyane and Visa vans had used for many years. They are now on their third iteration, and available under Fiat, Opel and Vauxhall branding as well.
So what caught my eye on this one – after all a white van is not exactly novel. But the stance and small badge on the front wing caught my eye. This an is Automobiles Dangel 4×4 conversion.
Unlike the UK and Germany, the French industry has never truly embraced the working off-road vehicle in the style of the Land Rover or Mercedes-Benz G Class. But the need is still there, even if much has been successfully catered for by either imports or the truly robust Peugeot 504 pickups and its predecessors.
One other option emerged though – the Automobiles Dangel conversion. Dangel is a French converter with a 40 year and counting history of adapting French, mostly Peugeot (and its PSA twins) to 4×4. The first adaptations were Peugeot 504 pickups, but the history includes the 505 estate, as well as three generation of Partner/Berlingo and the larger Peugeot Boxer and Expert (maybe these names work better in France – other markets often use other names) and Citroen Jumpy and Despatch.
The usual format is a chassis lift of around 200mm and a drive shaft to the rear wheels. Skidplates and arch extensions are also available as required.
Dangel have produced something over 20,000 examples of all models, with the largest market being France and bigger users including the military and emergency services. Production continues at Sentheim, in Alsace on the Franco-German border and not far Peugeot’s home in Mulhouse.